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Brewers seeking reinforcements as Aaron Ashby makes rare start and Robert Gasser goes on injured list

PHILADELPHIA – How tenuous is the Milwaukee Brewers' pitching situation these days?

"If you're in our organization right now and you're healthy and you're throwing it forward, you're being considered," manager Pat Murphy quipped Wednesday afternoon. "If you throw good from the outfield one day, you might be considered, too."

OK, things aren't quite that bad.

But there's no questioning the fact Milwaukee needs reinforcements, with no better example than being in a position where it needed to start left-hander Aaron Ashby against the Philadelphia Phillies in the teams' series finale at Citizens Bank Park despite his ugly numbers at Class AAA Nashville (1-3, 6.80 ERA, 1.97 WHIP in 10 appearances).

To be fair, Ashby was excellent his last time out, as he threw seven shutout innings in a victory at Memphis.

In a perfect world, Ashby would continue working out the kinks with the Sounds, now a full 14 months removed from shoulder surgery. But with the position the Brewers are in, he was the choice to face a formidable Phillies lineup.

More: The Milwaukee Brewers are dealing with a lot of injuries. Here's a look at every player on the IL.

"It's been back and forth," is how Murphy described Ashby's season. He made one previous start for the Brewers on April 8 at Cincinnati, and took the loss after allowing six hits and eight runs (four earned) in 3 ⅔ innings.

"There's been a good outing and poor outing," Murphy continued. "But these last couple times, last two out of three, had been very good. Just pounding the zone and using all three pitches. It's always exciting when a guy like this gets more comfortable coming off an injury.

"I think Ash believes, like, 'I should be here already.' And that's a good thing to have. Have them not just excited but hungry, like, 'Hey, I deserve to be here.'

"So, hopefully that translates into real competitive pitching."

Ashby was recalled from Nashville before the game along with right-hander Tobias Myers, who's a likely candidate to start Friday in Detroit if he's not needed Wednesday in relief. Right-hander Janson Junk was optioned to Nashville, and left-hander Robert Gasser was placed on the 15-day injured list with a left flexor strain.

Gasser left Philadelphia earlier Wednesday to receive a second opinion in Los Angeles from Neal ElAttrache. Left-hander DL Hall, meanwhile, was also heading to see ElAttrache about his left knee sprain.

In all, five pitchers who have started games for the Brewers this season are on the IL.

Murphy was asked about a couple other pitchers who have been performing well at Nashville – right-handers Carlos Rodríguez and Chad Patrick – and he confirmed both have been mentioned in recent conversations.

Rodríguez, the organization's third-best pitching prospect coming into the season, was just named the International League's pitcher of the month after getting off to an awful start to the season for the Sounds.

Rodríguez went 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA and WHIP of 0.94 in five May starts, striking out 33 batters in 29⅔ innings, while limiting opponents to a .194 batting average. For the season, he's 4-5 with a 5.49 ERA, WHIP of 1.36 and a team-leading 59 strikeouts in 57⅓ innings (11 appearances, 10 starts).

"He's thrown the ball well this whole month," Murphy said. "I think it's four out of his last five starts have been very, very good. It's a different level, you know, so how we evaluate that level is not all by the results. But Carlos has been talked about as one of the guys that could come up and help us."

Patrick, who was acquired from the Oakland A's in the offseason in exchange for Abraham Toro, also has been on a tear of late with a 4-1 record, 1.80 ERA and 37 strikeouts in his last five outings. For the season, he's 5-1 with a 2.87 ERA, WHIP of 1.22 and 52 strikeouts in 53⅓ innings (10 appearances, nine starts).

"He's gotten good results out there," Murphy said. "We've talked about him today, too. Those are names that are being considered."

There are also major-league reinforcements on the way, with right-hander Jakob Junis now one game into his minor-league rehab assignment and right-hander Joe Ross possibly eyeing a start next week. Another right-hander, Taylor Clarke – a reliever who potentially could provide some starter's innings if need be – is also primed to join the Brewers soon.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Brewers put Robert Gasser on injured list as depth takes another hit